I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre
Series: Apartment 2B #1
Also in this series: As Long As You Love Me, The Shape of My Heart
Published by Harlequin
Publication Date: September 1st 2014
Genres: Fiction, Romance, New Adult, Coming of Age, Contemporary, General, Western
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Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she's determined to make them come true. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, dating's the last thing on her mind. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….
Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can't risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, the last thing he wants is noisy students living in the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia's and Ty's paths cross, and soon they can't stay away from each other.
The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can't know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.
Nadia is studying to be a special-ed teacher. Her school and work schedules don’t allow for much in the way of personal relationships, especially romance. Her relationship with her best friend is suffering, and she isn’t feeling as close to her other roommates as she’d like. Which makes the connection she feels to man who lives below her an unwelcome surprise. She’s already juggling too many balls; adding a single dad to the mix has ‘bad idea’ written all over it. But she can’t seem to help herself…and neither can he.
Ty is barely keeping his head above water. Between work, school and taking care of his son, he has zero free time. Since his ex ran out on him, he’s reluctant to get involved in even a casual way with someone, and he refuses to even consider opening himself up to more. But like Nadia, he can’t seem to stay away.
I liked Nadia, but I didn’t feel much of a connection to Ty. This is one of those times the first-person POV worked against the story. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy the book, because I did. I just wish we saw more emotion and personality from Ty.
Nadia was better drawn than he was. We saw her hopes, dreams and fears for the future. Her interpersonal relationships were fleshed out better, which gave us a better sense of her as a whole. She’s described in a later book as a type-A personality, and that’s definitely true. She’s stubborn and anal, but she wasn’t annoying.
There were two things that really bothered me. Both are spoilers, so beware when reading on.View Spoiler »The first is Nadia’s relationship with her best friend, Lauren. They’ve been best friends since grade school and claim to know each other better than they even know themselves. Yet Lauren is clearly dealing with something and Nadia completely ignores it. She thinks something along the lines of “if Lauren wants to talk she’ll come to me.” When one of their roommates mentions Lauren’s problems, Nadia shrugs it off. She spent more time with the other roommates, helping them and developing relationships with them, than she did her best friend. She even seemed to take Max’s side (one of their roommates who has a crush on Lauren) over Lauren’s, which we all know violates the girl-code.
I get friendships go in cycles and sometimes it’s hard to talk about the things that are bothering us, but the emphasis on them being best friends who shared everything really worked against them in this story. The other thing that really bothered me is the amount of guilt Ty carries because he “forced” his girlfriend into having their baby. She couldn’t handle being a mom and took off, but not before making him feel like crap for her decision not to terminate.
This probably wouldn’t have bothered me, but Ty seems to think he was wrong to want to keep the baby, and at one point Nadia thinks something like “it was a hard thing and there was no clear winner.” (I’m totally paraphrasing). Had Ty pushed for her to keep the baby when she was reluctant, then walked away, I could understand his guilt. But he didn’t. He took care of his son when it became clear the mother wasn’t capable and he continued to do so even after she was gone. There was no need for him to feel guilt and absolutely no reason for Nadia, or anyone else, to feel sorry for the mother who was “forced” into having a baby when she didn’t want to. A father should have just as much say in whether his child is born as the mother, especially when he’s not only willing, but quite eager, to care for said child. /rant « Hide Spoiler
Despite those two things, the story was very engaging. Although I didn’t develop strong feelings toward Ty, Nadia and the other secondary characters made for an entertaining, if romance-lite, tale.
3.5 out of 5